Day 238: A Hologram For The King (2016)

coverThere are certain actors in Hollywood that when you see their name attached to a film, it’s more than likely that you’re going to pick it up. Tom Hanks (Bridge Of Spies) is definitely one of those actors and hence the reason I chose A Hologram For The King for today’s film. Alan (Hanks) is a failed US salesman that made the ultimate mistake with one company in his past. Things are falling apart for Alan as he is going through a divorce, he has to find a way to pay for college for his daughter, and he has a small lump on his back. In a last ditch effort, he goes to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to present a new technology to the king in hopes that it will save him. What he actually finds there is not what he expected when he took the chance. The film also stars Alexander Black (Tim) as Yousef, Sarita Choudhury (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1) as Zahra, Sidse Babett Knudsen (The Duke Of Burgundy) as Hanne, Tracey Fairaway (Enough Said) as Kit, Tom Skerritt (Top Gun) as Ron, David Menkin (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) as Brad, Christy Meyer (Snowden) as Cayley, Megan Maczko (The In-Between) as Rachel, Khalid Laith (The Devil’s Double) as Hassan, Amira El Sayed (Schleierhaft) as Hana, and the film was directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run).

rs-231797-Screen-Shot-2016-03-10-at-9.57.54-PMBefore I get into the review of the film, the one thing that I want to get out of the way is that I loved the cinematography. Yes, there is a lot of amazing shots of the desert and what not, but one of my favorite scenes comes towards the end of the film. There is a scene where Tom Hanks is underwater and it just looks absolutely amazing. According to Rotten Tomatoes the critic consensus is, “A Hologram for the King amiably ambles through a narrative desert, saved by an oasis of a performance from the ever-dependable Tom Hanks.” I would have to agree with the critics because it is a rather enjoyable ride through a culture shock. You see Tom Hank’s character grow from someone who doesn’t know the customs of the culture to eventually someone who understands the way their world works. He has to travel around the red tape and navigate his way through their world, but he gets the job done. One of the relationships I loved seeing in the film was the bond of friendship that developed between Alan and his driver Yousef. It starts off a little shaky because Alan just treats him like a crazy driver, but the relationship that soon develops is great and full of comedic gold. One of my other favorite aspects from the film is the soundtrack believe it or not. It features music from The Talking Heads, Chicago, Electric Light Orchestra, and more courtesy of Yousef for the most part (minus The Talking Heads track, that seems to be the overall theme of the film). I really enjoyed watching the film and I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Mr. Hanks. I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.

Day Four: CBGB (2013)

CBGBI had heard about this film for a long time and I have been waiting since 2013 to watch this film. So, when I saw that Netflix had the title available< I jumped on the opportunity to watch the film CBGB. The film explores the origins of the legendary New York club and how one man named Hilly Kristal (Alan Rickman) had the vision to pioneer a musical revolution with his club called CBGB. You’ll see all of the triumphs and the struggles that came with owning the club or just working with Hilly period. We’ll also see the birth of bands like Blondie, The Ramones, The Dead Boys, The Talking Heads, and so many more as they share a part with the club’s story. The film also stars Malin Akerman (The Watchmen) as Debbie Harry, Justin Bartha (The Hangover) as Stiv Bator, Richard de Klerk (Repeators) as Taxi, Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory) as Terry Ork, Kyle Gallner (American Sniper) as Lou Reed, Ashley Greene (Staten Island Summer) as Lisa Kristal, Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) as Iggy Pop, Ryan Hurst (Sons Of Anarchy) as Mad Mountain, Joel David Moore (Dodgeball) as Joey Ramone, Mickey Sumner (The End Of The Tour) as Patti Smith, Bradley Whitford (Billy Madison) as Nicky Gant, Rupert Grint (Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets) as Cheetah Chrome, and the film was directed by Randall Miller.

hillyThe story of CBGB is quite fascinating because it was a club that was functioning on almost no money. They were spending more than they were making according to the film. It is a legendary club however that I wish I had the opportunity of entering, but I never did. So many legendary bands payed n the stage and the film of course focuses on the pioneers of Punk Rock music and I love the band that closes out the film. Alan Rickman to me is a brilliant actor as I enjoy quite a lot of his films. He does a good job playing a guy with literally the worst business sense as the film makes it clear that he had failed many times before CBGB. The acting was phenomenal and I think anyone wanting to learn the history of Punk Rock should watch this and stick around for the credits which has some goodies in it too. Now as far as what is true about the film and what is not I do not know right now other than I don’t think Conway Twitty ever played there. One thing according to one article is that there are posters and stickers  on the wall of the club before any bands actually have played there which can be counted as a goof. To see more of what they got right vs wrong, check out this article here. Otherwise, I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade because I enjoyed it thoroughly as I am a music fan first.